School4Life 2.0: our commitment to combat school dropout
Young people dropping out of school is still a widespread problem in Italy today, where approximately 13% of youth abandon their education before obtaining their secondary school diploma or vocational certificate, a rate higher than the European average. It is a social, economic and cultural plague caused primarily by impediments to the so-called “social elevator,” meaning the hope for younger generations to have better economic opportunities and living conditions than previous generations. Not surprisingly, the highest percentage of dropouts come from low income families where the parents themselves have not gone beyond eighth grade or in areas in Southern Italy where there is more poverty.
For this reason, a new educational model is necessary that functions together with schools to provide an education but also includes listening, dialogue, openness and inspiration during young people’s search for their own talent.
Within this context, companies also play a fundamental role, providing young people with the professional and cultural tools to express themselves and gain an awareness of what they want and what they can do, guiding them towards a working world that has profoundly changed.
This goal has been a part of our Group’s overall strategy for some time now, through training initiatives that accompany new generations on a path of personal and professional growth.
In 2021, in partnership with ELIS we launched the School4Life project, meeting with 1,500 students and offering them guidance to combat dropping out of school. The success and interest shown in the first edition led 10 more companies to get involved and inspired the creation of School4Life 2.0, which in the two-year period of 2021-2023 involved approximately 15,000 students from middle and secondary schools all over Italy, with special attention given to the regions where dropping out is more common.
Our energy for young people and schools
School4Life 2.0 was not only an opportunity to spread awareness among young people about the job opportunities offered by the energy transition, but also offered a wide range of initiatives that involved students, teachers, school administrators and families in the creation of true educational communities that can effectively counter the school dropout and educational poverty trends. It was a training and orientation project for the world of work and part of the larger program to support quality education (Sustainable Development Goal 4) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
The goal is pursued through a methodological approach based on experimentation and learning-by-doing, one that is supported at every stage by targeted educational projects such as webinars, training labs, inspirational talks, orientation initiatives and empowerment. During these sessions, students interact with experts from our Group, who are called upon to enrich the School4Life 2.0 training ecosystem as masters of their trade, role models and mentors.
They have been entrusted with one of the most important tasks: to work alongside teachers in strategic activities that aim to stimulate the proactivity of students, who for this purpose are involved in concrete projects where they can use their skills and creativity to tackle and solve realistic problems. This introductory learning path is strongly devoted to the practical, where our colleagues play the dual role of guides and points of reference. There is constant motivating and encouraging of students to unleash their full potential and talent as they closely accompany them on a journey to discover the values and skills that are fundamental to finding success in the world of work. These include soft skills and technical-specialized knowledge, diversity and inclusiveness, tech tools and digital trends through which young people can conscientiously contribute to the sustainable development of society, in line with the UN’s SDG.This mission is carried out in middle schools thanks in part to the assistance of young men and women in secondary schools who are called upon to be ambassadors by passing on the knowledge they have acquired to younger children, while always being supported by our team of experts.
School4life also includes webinars dedicated to parents and teachers, during which families and school staff are shown how to recognize ahead of time the warning signs that precede dropping out of school, allowing them to intervene early to support and encourage young people to gain awareness and achieve their goals.
School4Life 2.0 involved 11 companies and 143 schools, involving 14,471 students from all over Italy in quality educational initiatives strongly directed toward the development of fundamental skills to interface with an ever-changing labor market. Aim to which 3,000 hours of training and orientation and 1,109 meetings between students and mentors were dedicated, with the direct involvement of 345 business experts, testifying to the commitment of all partners in creating a direct bridge between the worlds of education and business.
In the two-year period 2021-2023, our experts spoke in a total of 172 meetings in 25 schools for a total of 223 hours of training divided between inspirational talks, atelier meetings, training labs and project work, as well as alignment meetings with school leaders, teachers and ELIS consultants. The students also visited the Group's offices, coming into firsthand contact with our commitment to energy transition and sustainable development.
A journey that culminated in a creativity marathon, the Creathon, which gave 75 boys and girls from all schools a challenge: that of "making the invisible risk visible," that is, declining an awareness campaign on electrocution-related risks. A competition in which an original and engaging video capable of conveying awareness on this issue using an inventive and innovative register excelled.
With School4Life 2.0 we wanted to reaffirm our commitment to the new generations: because the active involvement of the youngest, and of schools, is indispensable to sustain Italy's growth with a new wealth of ideas, skills and sensitivity, new energies that we are convinced will make our goals for the future even closer.